In my last article, I pondered what a fully homegrown Yankees lineup could look like in 2021. I will now take the same approach, but instead for the pitching staff. I also want to clarify that I am counting players whom the Yankees acquired via trade that have not yet made their major league debuts as homegrown. So without further ado, here is what a fully homegrown Yankees pitching staff could look like in 2021.
Luis Severino, right-handed pitcher
2017 stats: 2-2, 3.64 ERA (3.57 FIP), 47 innings pitched, 54 strikeouts
There was a time when people wondered whether or not Severino was better suited for the bullpen. He has done all but silence those doubts so far this season. His electric fastball and nasty slider have always carried him, but the addition of an effective changeup, along with improved fastball command, have solidified him as a stud. If he continues to develop at this pace, he should be well on his way to achieving ace status.
Jordan Montgomery, left-handed pitcher
2017 stats: 2-3, 4.81 ERA (3.93 FIP), 39.1 innings pitched, 37 strikeouts
Montgomery came out of nowhere to win the fifth spot in the rotation this season. While he’s seen his share of struggles, there is a lot to like about him. A product of a national championship winning program at the University of South Carolina, Montgomery is the definition of a gamer. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but he features a four-pitch mix and throws the ball from a deceptive over-the-top arm angle.
Montgomery’s most valuable attribute may actually be his durability, which we all know the Yankees desperately need in their rotation. Some have deemed Montgomery as Andy Pettitte 2.0, and it’s actually a pretty interesting comparison. Physically the two nearly mirror each other, with Montgomery standing only one inch taller. Pettitte wore number 46 while Montgomery wears 47, and they both of course throw from the left side. Only time will tell if production is another thing these two will have in common.
James Kaprielian, right-handed pitcher
2017 stats: Kaprielian underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery on April 18th.
Ever since the Yankees took Kaprielian in the first round of the 2015 draft, it has been a constant teeter between dominant and injured. In 29.1 career innings, he holds a 2.45 ERA and has struck out 36 batters. While this is clearly a very small sample size, MLB.com still has him ranked as the 70th best prospect in baseball.
It’s not a guarantee that he bounces back strongly from Tommy John surgery, but if anyone can do it, I believe it can be him. Kaprielian has a bulldog mentality and has always expressed the desire to not only succeed, but to be great. Scouts have compared his demeanor on the mound to the likes of Roger Clemens. I for one would love to see Kaprielian put the injury bug behind him and make an impact in the Bronx.
Justus Sheffield, left-handed pitcher
2017 stats: 2-2, 4.21 ERA (4.60 FIP), 36.1 innings pitched, 34 strikeouts
Acquired last summer in the Andrew Miller trade, Brian Cashman made it very clear that without Sheffield, that trade would’ve never happened. While he’s currently battling through some command issues, Sheffield has loads of upside. He is listed at 5’10, but don’t let that fool you. Sheffield’s fastball has nice sink and sits between 92-94 mph. It’s even touched 96 mph on occasion.
Throw in a hard slider, plus an improving changeup, and it’s easy to see why MLB.com has ranked him as the 71st best prospect in baseball. He’s also listed as the eighth best left-handed pitching prospect in the game. Sheffield is an all-around incredible athlete that fans should look forward to seeing in pinstripes one day.
Chance Adams, right-handed pitcher
2017 stats: 5-1, 1.15 ERA, 47 innings pitched, 43 strikeouts
Adams just recently moved into the MLB.com top 100 prospect list - literally at number 100 - and with good reason. Originally drafted as a reliever, Adams has since been moved to the rotation, and he never looked back. After going 13-1 with a 2.33 ERA last season, Adams is continuing to dominate minor league hitters this season. Don’t be surprised if you see Adams in the Bronx as soon as this season, and hopefully many more to follow.
Dietrich Enns, left-handed pitcher
2017 stats: 1.64 ERA (2.88 FIP), 11.0 innings pitched, eight strikeouts
Enns is the definition of underrated. He has posted a 1.85 ERA in 355.1 innings across six minor league seasons. He has struck out 358 batters, and held opponents to a measly .197 batting average. The only knock against Enns has been his projectability and some minor command issues. He doesn’t throw very hard, and none of his secondary pitches blow scouts away. One would think that his production to this point would at least earn him a spot on the Yankees top 30 prospect list, but it hasn’t. I believe Enns will have a real chance to be a solid long reliever or spot starter.
Jonathan Holder, right-handed pitcher
2017 stats: 1-0, 1.93 ERA (1.38 FIP), 18.2 innings pitched, 20 strikeouts
Holder first made headlines last season when he struck out 11 batters in a row during a Triple-A game. That performance earned him a cup of coffee in 2016, where he struggled to the tune of a 5.40 ERA. Holder showed up to spring training this year trying to earn a role in the Yankees bullpen and he hasn’t missed a beat. Don’t be surprised if Holder accumulates many holds for Yankees in the coming seasons.
J.P. Feyereisen, right-handed pitcher
2017 stats: 2.81 ERA (3.85 FIP), 16 innings pitched, 14 strikeouts
Another arm acquired in last summer’s Miller deal, Feyereisen has flown under the radar for most of his career. He is a power arm with swing-and-miss stuff, as evidenced by his 169 career strikeouts in 136 innings pitched. The Yankees thought highly enough of him to not only trade for him, but to then assign him to the historically talent-filled Arizona Fall League. There should be a spot in the bullpen for an arm like Feyereisen’s for many years to come.
Albert Abreu, right-handed pitcher
2017 stats: 1-2, 3.25 ERA, 27.2 innings pitched, 31 strikeouts
Acquired this past offseason in the Brian McCann trade, Abreu has a lot of talent to offer. While he is still currently a starter, I’m going to predict that he winds up in the bullpen due to command issues and struggles with his secondary pitches.
Abreu has shown flashes of greatness with a fastball that has sniffed 99 mph. A move to the bullpen would allow him to go after batters more aggressively, and worry less about his secondary pitches. That being said, if Abreu does develop his off-speed pitches well enough, he has a chance to be a very valuable piece of the Yankees staff for years to come.
James Reeves, left-handed pitcher
2017 stats: Reeves suffered an elbow ligament sprain and has yet to pitch this season.
Reeves is a name most people probably have never heard. He was added to the big league club during spring training as a last minute move ,but he got sent to minor league camp before he ever threw a pitch. A southpaw with a funky delivery, Reeves doesn’t over power hitters, but he manages to miss a lot of bats. He’s struck out 144 batters in 123.2 career innings. He carries a career 2.40 ERA and he might turn out to be the best left-handed specialist the Yankees have produced in a long time.
Dillon Tate, right-handed pitcher
2017 stats: Tate is rehabbing a shoulder injury. He’s yet to be assigned to an affiliate.
Tate was the centerpiece of the deal that sent Carlos Beltran to the Texas Rangers last summer. He was drafted fourth overall in 2015 and has had kind of a weird journey ever since. Coming out of UC Santa Barbara, Tate had an electric fastball that ranged from 92-98 mph and a wipeout slider. However, his transition to pro-ball saw his velocity dip and his performance suffer.
The Yankees still saw potential in Tate, and they told him to use whatever mechanics that felt comfortable. They also slid him to the bullpen. His velocity returned and he found success in the bullpen. For now, the Yankees plan to return him to the rotation. Down the road, however, I can see Tate’s stuff playing up in shorter stints and being very successful as a big-league setup man.
Domingo Acevedo, right-handed pitcher
2017 stats: 1- 4, 3.97 ERA, 47.2 innings pitched, 57 strikeouts
Most of Acevedo’s career appearances have come as a starter, but I see him as the closer of the future. Standing at a modest 6’7 and weighing 240 pounds, I see a young Dellin Betances with even more upside. While he has dealt with durability issues and a lack of a dominant secondary offering, he has touched 103 mph with his fastball. Plus he has relatively good command. If starting doesn’t pan out, Acevedo could very well be the Yankees homegrown closer of the future.
This list was extremely difficult to make due to the incredible amount of pitching depth in the Yankees farm system. Guys like Ben Heller, Luis Cessa, and Chad Green could have easily been on this list, with many others well deserving. When it came down to it, I figured that pitchers like Cessa and Green could be used to acquire high-floor prospects in the same way Shane Greene was used to acquire Didi Gregorius. How do you see the Yankees pitching staff rounding out in the future? Let us know in the comment section below.